SCRANTON, Pa.—The University of Scranton got two masterful pitching performances from juniors Rocky Sawyer (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) and Corey Gorman (Laflin, Pa./Coughlin) to complete a three-game Landmark Conference sweep of Drew University Sunday afternoon at Connell Park.
In the opener, Sawyer struck out a career-high 11 batters and scattered three hits over six innings en route to a 12-0 victory.
And were it not for the clutch hitting of seniors Chris Stallone (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield), David Giglio (Wallingford, Conn./Xavier) and Jeff Manahan (Morris Plains, N.J./Morristown), Scranton nearly wasted a two-hit, 11-strikeout effort by Gorman in a 3-2 victory in the nightcap. All three of Scranton's runs were scored in the bottom of the seventh inning, including two with two outs.
Losing pitcher Evan Martens (Avon, Conn./Avon) handcuffed Scranton for six innings, allowing just three hits, before the Royals loaded the bases with one out in the seventh on singles by junior Matt Rayha (Willow Street, Pa./Penn Manor) and Stallone sandwiched around a walk to senior Jason Lane (Moosic, Pa./Riverside).
Sophomore Michael Gaeta (Cranford, N.J./Cranford) drove in one run with a sacrifice fly to right field and Giglio followed with a two-out single to left to drive in pinch-runner Joe Amicucci (Pomona, N.Y./Albertus Magnus) with the tying run. Manahan then drilled a pinch-hit line drive for a single to right to score Stallone with the winning run.
The first game was much closer than the final score indicated. For four innings, Sawyer found himself in pitching duel with Ranger starter Tom Koontz (Allentown, N.J./Allentown).
The floodgates opened for Scranton in the bottom of the fifth, as Gaeta and Manahan each singled and Koontz hit two batters—Rayha and sophomore Tim LeCompte (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic)—to to force in a run. Lane then drilled a double that cleared the bases to give the Royals a 4-0 lead.
Scranton wasn't finished. Among the Royals' seven hits in the frame were a two-run double by LeCompte and Lane came through again, hitting a bases-loading triple to complete an 11-run outburst.
Sawyer, now 3-3 on the season, has pitched at least six innings in each of his last five starts. Today's effort also lowered his team-leading ERA to 2.31.
Gorman's effort was also impressive, allowing just an infield single by junior Tom Murray (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial) in the first and a double to freshman Matt Kaplan (Palisades Park, N.J./Palisades Park) in the sixth. In addition, only one of the two runs scored against Gorman were earned, helping him lower his ERA to 4.50 while picking up his team-leading fourth win of the season.
Today's wins also move the Royals into third place in the Landmark Conference, two games ahead of Susquehanna University and four in the win column over Juniata College in the battle for one of four tournament spots. Moravian College and Catholic University are tied for the top spot with 11-1 conference records.
The Royals, now 12-14 overall and 7-5 in the Landmark Conference, will host King's College on Tuesday, April 19, beginning at 4:00 p.m. at Connell Park. Scranton will also host Catholic University in a three-game Landmark Conference series this Friday, April 22, in a 7-inning doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m.